You’ve been tasked with adding a new feature to an existing product. The feature may have already been decided on, but that doesn’t mean that conducting some initial research is irrelevant! Decisions like this are often made for all sorts of reasons (business goals, marketing needs, keeping up with the competition), and it’s our job to find ways to still make our work as user-centered as possible. Dig deeper to find out what user goals this feature may really be aimed at, so that you can make a stronger design.
As a new designer joining a team, you’ll often have to rapidly familiarize yourself with your product, your users, and quickly iterate on proposed solutions under tight timelines. Your other stakeholders will all have opinions, and you’ll have to get into the practice of supporting your claims and finding ways to incorporate new features into the existing platform.
Aspects to Consider
- Who are the users and what are their goals? How can you quickly learn about them? How would they make use of this new feature?
- What’s your hypothesis about how the new functionality will change their behaviors?
- How should the new functionality tie into the navigation of the product? Expect to try more than one approach here.
- You must be able to defend your design decisions based on testing.
- The product already has an established aesthetic and defined look and feel. How will you maintain this in your high-fidelity prototype?
- User flows for the key new tasks the user needs complete
- Show how the feature fits into the app navigation
- Digitized screens at high fidelity
- Create at least one key animation for your interface (you’re very welcome to do more!)
- Provide rationale for key decisions, especially through testing
We should get a strong sense of:
- The problem and the user(s)
- Findings from discovery and testing, and how these informed your design
- Your design, including a prototype
- At least one key animation
- Next steps
- Make a project plan
- Design inventory
- Brand attributes
- Benchmark features and flows
- Outline use cases
- Sketch user flows
- Explore design options
- Paper prototype
- Quick usability tests
- Test & iterate
- Mockup key flow
- Test & iterate
- High-fidelity mockups
- Interactive prototype
- Finalize your design
- Prepare presentation and rehearse
- Present your work
For this project, you’ll be delivering a presentation as well as submitting a written report. The report is an opportunity for you to document your process, findings, takeaways, and iterations. It’s good practice to document as much as you can while you work, so we’re starting that practice early to make it a habit. This will make your life much easier later when you start compiling a portfolio of your work.
We’ll have time dedicated after the presentations of this project to write up the report.
Remember that design challenges are tackled by alternating divergent and convergent thinking modes. You are expected to conduct exploratory research and narrow down the scope of the problem within the realm of the proposed feature. Then generate multiple possible solutions. Evaluate. Test. Repeat. You’ll have the opportunity to show these iterations in your presentation.
- Devise a plan of attack
- Timebox your work
- Get feedback early & often
- Perfect is the enemy of good
- Document your work as you go
- Build out your presentation deck and your report as you go
- Work fast; have fun